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Angelo Carletti di Chivasso, Bl.


Franciscan moral theologian and canonist; b. Chivasso, Piedmont, Italy, probably in 1411; d. Cuneo, Italy, April 12, 1495. He came of a wealthy and distinguished family and studied at the University of Bologna. After receiving his doctorate in civil and canon law, the youth was soon entrusted with responsibilities that gave promise of a distinguished career in civil government. But at the age of 30 he gave up his worldly expectations and entered the Franciscans of the Cismontane Observance, taking the name Angelo in place of that of Antonio, which he had been called at Baptism. His learning and holiness quickly won the confidence of his brethren. He was four times chosen vicar general of his order and was held in great esteem outside the order. In 1450 sixtus iv commissioned him to preach the crusade against the Turkish invaders of Otranto, and in 1491 he was appointed by innocent viii to work against the spread of the Waldensian heresy in Savoy and Piedmont. He was a zealous champion of the poor and the oppressed, doing much by his preaching and writing to promote the montes pietatis.

Chivasso's reputation as a moralist rests chiefly on his Summa casuum conscientiae, which was first published by Chivasso himself at Venice in 1486. A second edition followed in 1488, and thereafter for the rest of the century republications appeared almost annually. Many new editions throughout the following century are evidence of its continuing popularity. The work came to be known as the Summa angelica because of the author's name. Its doctrine, sound and exact, was expressed with rare perspicuity. The arrangement and presentation of topics in alphabetical sequence made it, in effect, a kind of dictionary or encyclopedia of practical moral theology and Canon Law, which proved most helpful to confessors. Luther detested the work and consigned it to the flames at Wittenburg, along with the bull of his excommunication, a collection of the decretals, and the Summa theologiae of St. thomas aquinas (Dec. 10, 1520).

Chivasso enjoys the title Blessed, his cult, which began shortly after his death, having been confirmed by benedict xiv in 1753.

Feast: April 19.

Bibliography: a. l. gabriel, Description of the Summa Angelica (Notre Dame, Ind. 1991). Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae 2:107273. l. wadding, Scriptores Ordinis Minorum (3d ed. Rome 1906) 19. l. wadding, Scriptores Ordinis Minorum (3d ed. Quaracchi-Florence 1931) 13, 14, 15 passim. a. beugnet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 1.1:127172.

[p. k. meagher]

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